The Insider

By Jaspreet Gill
August 31, 2021 at 3:54 PM

The Defense Department inspector general recently released three "interim responses" accompanying findings in the final Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure report.

The redacted JEDI report, released last April, summarized findings of an investigation into the enterprise cloud program worth potentially up to $10 billion after lawmakers and cloud companies wanted the Pentagon to reverse its decision to make a single award for the program.

Although the IG report ultimately found DOD did not do anything wrong in pursuing a single-award approach, it also confirmed ethical misconduct by Stacy Cummings, then-principal deputy assistant secretary for acquisition enablers, and Deap Ubhi, a former Defense Digital Services representative.

The report stated the ethical violations did not impact the direction of the JEDI cloud program.

The three interim responses, released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, include a redacted interview with Anthony DeMartino, former deputy chief of staff for former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, a report on Ubhi's and Cummings' violations, and correspondence between the Defense Department, members of Congress and Oracle.

By John Liang
August 31, 2021 at 1:48 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on tomorrow's mark-up of the House defense policy bill and more.

The House Armed Services Committee's top Democrat spoke this morning at a Brookings Institute event on the defense budget:

Smith defends Pentagon spending in advance of marathon mark-up

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smtih (D-WA) today sounded like a lawmaker who knows the defense budget is going up, offering arguments against progressives in his own party who seek to cut Pentagon spending, rather than vocalizing his oft-stated opposition to GOP-backed efforts to boost the defense topline.

More on the House version of the defense bill, which is slated for mark-up tomorrow:

House panel to consider $34 million FY-22 add to authorize pair of MDA laser projects

The House Armed Services Committee this week will take up a proposal to authorize $34 million to reinstate the Missile Defense Agency's role in laser technology development, a provision that, if agreed to, would approve spending on a pair of directed-energy projects that proponents believe have potential to counter ballistic and hypersonic threats.

House authorizers want to add six MQ-9 Reapers to Air Force, though service sought none

While the Air Force is seeking to halt the procurement of MQ-9 Reapers in its fiscal year 2022 budget request, the House Armed Services Committee's chairman's mark instead aims to direct the service to add six of the drones to its inventory.

JLTV cuts not due to any concerns with program, House aide says

Cuts to the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle in the House Armed Services Committee's chairman's mark of the fiscal year 2022 defense policy bill were not made because of any congressional concerns with the program, a Democratic committee aide said Aug. 27.

Navy Capt. Pete Small, program manager of unmanned maritime systems, spoke on a recent episode of the Midrats podcast, which discusses issues and developments for the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard:

Navy: Seven unmanned prototypes to be in heavy rotation by 2023

The Navy will have seven unmanned surface vessel prototypes delivered and in heavy rotation by 2023, according to a service official.

By Jason Sherman
August 31, 2021 at 12:38 PM

The Army needs to prepare to "ruthlessly" retire the Patriot and Stinger air defense systems, according to a senior service official who said wholesale replacement of the Cold War systems is needed to modernize the air defense force for emerging threats.

Brig. Gen. Brian Gibson, director of the Air and Missile Defense cross functional team, said continued upgrades to the legacy systems is not sufficient during an Aug. 31 webcast address at the Fires Conference at Ft. Sill, OK.

“We . . . have to realize that there will come a time where we have to ruthlessly . . . retire weapon systems that got us here to this day," Gibson said. "We're not going to Patriot and Stinger our way to a modernized air defense force; it's not going to happen. We can't afford it, nor should we."

The general added: "Our forefathers in the Cold War recognize how important it was -- just like today our leadership has recognized -- we need to do something different. And those things are phenomenal weapon systems but they're gonna go at some point -- and they need to go."

By Audrey Decker
August 31, 2021 at 12:08 PM

The Navy's America-class amphibious assault ship Tripoli (LHA-7) completed its final contract trials on Aug. 26.

These trials mark the final review of the ship and consist of in-port and at-sea evaluations, according to the Navy.

The ship experienced significant deficiencies in acceptance trials in October 2019.

"LHA-7, commissioned in July 2020, incorporates key components to provide the fleet with a more aviation-centric platform. The ship's design features an enlarged hangar deck, aviation maintenance facilities realignment and expansion, a significant increase in available stowage for parts and support equipment, and increased aviation fuel capacity," the Navy's press release stated.

After FCT, the ship will complete its post shakedown availability before going into the fleet, according to the press release.

By John Liang
August 31, 2021 at 10:36 AM

Huntington Ingalls Industries recently announced new business groups and executive appointments within its Technical Solutions division, following the company's $1.65 billion acquisition of Alion Science and Technology.

Under the terms of the Alion purchase announced last month, which is slated to close later this year, HII is gaining more than 3,200 Alion employees and its TS business will grow to about 25% of the company's sales.

"We have a truly unmatched level of skill and expertise across this leadership team," Andy Green, HII executive vice president and head of TS, said in a statement last week. "These professionals are the best and brightest in their respective fields and functions. I am confident that together with the rest of the Technical Solutions leaders and teams -- and the unparalleled capabilities we bring to our customers -- we will accelerate national security solutions and the growth and success of our division."

According to the Aug. 25 HII statement, the new business groups include:

Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) -- This group designs, develops, integrates and manages sensors, systems, and other assets to support ISR operations, exploitation and analysis.

Live, Virtual and Constructive (LVC) Solutions -- This group designs, develops and operates enterprise tactical training systems to ensure full coordination and readiness.

Cyber and Electronic Warfare (EW) -- This group provides full spectrum cyber, big data architectures, analytics and cloud migration; EW and foreign material exploitation.

Fleet Sustainment -- This group is responsible for full-spectrum sustainment, including hull, mechanical and electrical and C5ISR maintenance, modernization, and integrated product support.

Additionally, Technical Solutions' new executive appointments include:

Terri Walker-Spoonhour, chief operating officer and acting president, Cyber and Electronic Warfare, will work with the executive team to drive performance across Technical Solutions and the Cyber and Electronic Warfare business group.

Todd Borkey, chief technology officer, is responsible for managing the division's technology strategy, along with its developments and technical operations.

Chris Bishop, chief growth officer, is responsible for shaping and implementing the division's growth strategy and driving compelling solutions to customers' most complex national security challenges.

Garry Schwartz, president, ISR, is responsible for overseeing all aspects of ISR, systems engineering and integration work.

Glenn Goodman, president, LVC Solutions, is responsible for the strategic growth of integrated live, virtual, and constructive training solutions.

Ryan Norris, president, Fleet Sustainment, is responsible for all aspects of fleet sustainment operations and program execution.

Chris Soong, chief information officer is responsible for all aspects of the division's information technology and enterprise infrastructure, collaboration solutions, application development and data analytics.

Rich Fisne, senior vice president, contracts and procurement is responsible for the division's contracting, procurement, estimating, and pricing.

By Ethan Sterenfeld
August 30, 2021 at 5:08 PM

American Rheinmetall Vehicles and the Army's Armaments Center have signed a cooperative research and development agreement that will allow Rheinmetall to collaborate with the government on weapon systems that could go into the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle, the company announced Aug. 26.

"Among other research and development tasks, the CRADA provides a conduit for the team to explore integration of the U.S. Army's XM913 50 mm cannon on platforms that are potential candidates for the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle," a press release from the company stated.

Rheinmetall is one of five companies participating in a digital design phase for the OMFV, which will replace the Bradley Fighting Vehicle. The Armaments Center, based at Picatinny Arsenal, NJ, is part of the Combat Capabilities Development Command.

A CRADA allows federal research laboratories to work with industry while protecting intellectual property rights. This allows government and industry to combine their research to make new inventions, without sacrificing the rights to any of the underlying intellectual property.

Research that Rheinmetall and the Armaments Center perform under the CRADA could be used beyond the OMFV program, according to Rheinmetall's press release.

The research "may also be applicable to future weapon systems for other military services, international military markets, and further spin-off applications," the press release stated.

In addition to the XM913, the Armaments Center and Rheinmetall will consider the integration of the XM813 30 mm cannon onto the OMFV platform, an Armaments Center spokesman told Inside Defense in an Aug. 30 email. The Army chose the XM813 for the 30 mm capability on its Stryker combat vehicles.

The Armaments Center has entered into CRADAs with other potential contractors for the OMFV program, the spokesman wrote. Product managers for the OMFV did not request or initiate the agreements.

The Bradley Fighting Vehicle has a 25 mm cannon, but the OMFV could have a larger gun, Brig. Gen. Glenn Dean, program executive officer for ground combat systems, said in an interview last month. The current characteristics document states the OMFV must be able to defeat like-armored vehicles at range.

By John Liang
August 30, 2021 at 2:49 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the top Republican authorizer's desire to align the defense topline with the Senate's version of next year's policy bill, "requirements creep" in the Navy and a lot more.

The top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee wants more defense funding:

Rogers unveils amendment to boost House defense bill by $25B

House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Mike Rogers (R-AL) is proposing an amendment that would increase the topline of the fiscal year 2022 defense authorization bill by $25 billion, aligning it with the version passed by the Senate Armed Services Committee last month.

The Navy's top civilian official spoke this morning at the Southeastern New England Defense Industry Alliance's Defense Innovation Days event:

Del Toro: Navy must avoid 'requirements creep' in acquisition programs

The Navy must work to avoid "requirements creep" in its acquisition programs to limit cost growth and schedule delays, Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro said Monday.

Aides to House Democrat authorizers are insisting the Navy should get more Super Hornet aircraft:

Additional F/A-18E/Fs added to House bill for strike fighter shortfall risk mitigation

House Armed Services Committee majority aides said Friday the panel believes the Navy needs the 12 F/A-18E/Fs the committee intends to authorize for fiscal year 2022 to reduce risk during the service’s strike fighter shortfall.

The Pentagon plans to prepare a report to deliver to Congress next year along with the FY-23 budget request that will provide a detailed 15-year plan for aircraft acquisition:

Biden administration pushes long-term aviation funding report to FY-23

The Defense Department is punting on a new statutory requirement to prepare an annual aviation inventory and funding plan aligned with the National Defense Strategy, citing the Biden administration’s deliberate decision to prepare a fiscal year 2022 budget request without the traditional accompanying future year spending plan.

House authorizers would require the Pentagon to submit a report by early next January on the potential operational impacts of stationing the Army's V Corps headquarters at Ft. Knox, KY, as well as a plan to deal with the physical and time distance difference between Europe and that base:

House panel concerned about V Corps' American headquarters

Congress is concerned about the decision to station the Army's Europe-focused V Corps at Ft. Knox, KY, according to a provision in the House Armed Services Committee's chairman's mark of the fiscal year 2022 defense policy bill.

House authorizers are stressing that "questions remain about the direction" of the Air Force's Advanced Battle Management System:

House panel praises components of ABMS but warns 'questions remain' over program’s direction

The House Armed Services Committee wants the Air Force to ensure its Advanced Battle Management System doesn't waste resources and fields capabilities that fit into the Defense Department's broader command and control effort, as lawmakers recommended cutting back the program's funding in their fiscal year 2022 chairman's mark.

The Navy recently conducted a live-fire test of the Second Stage Solid Rocket Motor as part of the development of its Conventional Prompt Strike offensive hypersonic capability and the Army's Long Range Hypersonic Weapon:

Navy successfully tests second stage motor on hypersonic rocket

The Navy successfully tested a new motor for a hypersonic missile that will be fielded by both the Navy and Army.

The House Armed Services Committee's defense authorization bill directs the National Reconnaissance Office to use the National Security Space Launch Phase 2 contract for missions whose requirements can be met by the program:

House authorizers continue push for NRO to use NSSL contract for launches when possible

House authorizers want the National Reconnaissance Office to use the Space Force's major launch services contracting mechanism "to the extent practicable" according to a draft of fiscal year 2020 defense policy legislation.

By Tony Bertuca
August 30, 2021 at 5:00 AM

The full House Armed Services Committee marks up its version of the fiscal year defense authorization bill this week, and the U.S. military is closing in on an Aug. 31 deadline to evacuate thousands of people from Afghanistan.

Monday

Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro speaks about climate change during a virtual Defense Innovation Days conference.

Tuesday

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) speaks at the Brookings Institution about the FY-22 defense authorization bill.

The Army hosts its 2021 Fires Conference at Fort Sill, OK.

Wednesday

The House Armed Services Committee marks up the FY-22 defense authorization bill.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies hosts a discussion with Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger.

Thursday

The Hudson Institute hosts a discussion on the future of the Navy and Marine Corps.

By Thomas Duffy
August 27, 2021 at 2:17 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest continues with our coverage of the House Armed Services Committee’s draft authorization bill, more coverage from the Space Symposium in Colorado, and more.

The House committee is questioning the Navy’s plans for its adversary aircraft program:

House authorizers want Navy to use more modern aircraft for adversary training

The House Armed Services Committee is pushing back against the Navy’s plan to use F-5s and F-16s as adversary aircraft in training scenarios and wants the service to use more modern aircraft instead, according to the committee chairman’s mark for the fiscal year 2022 defense authorization bill.

A full review of defense acquisition programs could happen if the House bill becomes law:

Draft legislation would mandate sweeping scrub of entire major weapon system inventory, identify divestitures

An influential lawmaker is proposing legislation that -- if enacted -- could establish a new framework for assessing the suitability of the U.S. military’s existing major weapon system inventory for potential future combat operations, directing a review that could reshape the $2 trillion roster of current projects by identifying programs for divestiture that are not keeping pace with emerging threats.

The Defense Department is already shifting money around to pay for the Afghan resettlement effort:

Pentagon to transfer $400M to help resettle evacuated Afghans

The Pentagon intends to reprogram nearly $400 million to support the State Department’s request for temporary housing for Afghan special immigrant visa applicants and their families.

Two more pieces from our Space Symposium coverage:

New missile warning, tracking force design could accelerate SDA Tranche 1 tracking layer

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO -- As part of a broader missile tracking and warning force design effort, the Defense Department is considering initiating the second batch of Space Development Agency tracking layer satellites sooner than planned.

House Armed Services Committee chairman’s mark paves way for fast-tracked space AQ exec

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO -- The House Armed Services Committee’s chairman’s mark of the fiscal year 2022 defense policy bill would grant the Space Force the authority to create a new assistant secretary for space acquisition and integration.

House authorizers are concerned about the state of Navy electronic warfare:

House committee wants $1.5M increase for Navy’s EA-18 to counter high band electronic warfare

House lawmakers recommend a $1.5 million increase to upgrade high band jamming capability on the Navy’s EA-18 Growler as part of the House Armed Services Committee’s chairman’s mark for the fiscal year 2022 defense authorization bill.

And finally, the House committee wants some additions to DOD’s cyber program:

House authorizers want DOD to create ‘information collaborative environment,’ new cyber program offices

The House Armed Services Committee is proposing several legislative provisions related to the Defense Department’s cyber activities, including developing an “information collaborative environment” and establishing a program management office for enterprise-wide procurement of commercial cyber threat information products

By Tony Bertuca
August 26, 2021 at 3:58 PM

Twelve U.S. troops and dozens of Afghan civilians were killed today when at least two bombs were detonated outside the airport in Kabul where the military is trying to evacuate thousands of people before a Friday deadline.

Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command, said his “working assumption” is that today’s attack was carried out by Islamic State suicide bombers who detonated devices outside a gate to Hamid Karzai International Airport.

“Today is a hard day,” he said.

Along with the dead, McKenzie said he believes 15 U.S. troops and dozens of civilians were injured in the blast.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin released a statement expressing condolences for those killed.

“Terrorists took their lives at the very moment these troops were trying to save the lives of others,” he said. “We mourn their loss. We will treat their wounds. And we will support their families in what will most assuredly be devastating grief.”

However, Austin said the violence should not deter the military from completing its mission -- the evacuation of U.S. citizens and Afghan allies from Kabul, which has been overrun by the Taliban.

“To do anything less -- especially now -- would dishonor the purpose and sacrifice these men and women have rendered our country and the people of Afghanistan,” he said.

McKenzie said he has seen no evidence to suggest the Taliban was involved in the attack or allowed it to occur.

“I don't think there's anything to convince me that they let it happen,” he said. “As to whether or not I trust them -- that's a word I use very carefully. You've heard me say before, 'it's not what they say; it's what they do.' They have a practical reason for wanting us to get out of here by the 31st of August. They want to reclaim the airfield. We want to get out by that day, too, if it's possible to do so. So, we share a common purpose. As long as we keep that common purpose alive, they've been useful to work with. They've cut some of our security concerns down and they've been useful to work with going forward.”

McKenzie said that more than 104,000 total people have been evacuated, including 5,000 U.S. citizens.

“We believe there are about a little more than 1,000 Americans left in Afghanistan at this point,” he said.

By Thomas Duffy
August 26, 2021 at 1:55 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has lots of news on the House Armed Services Committee’s chairman’s mark, more news from the Space Symposium and we finish up with the Defense Department’s newest command and control program.

The Army will get a $100 million procurement boost if the House Armed Services Committee ‘s policy bill becomes law:

House panel would add $100M for Army procurement

The House Armed Services Committee’s chairman’s mark of the fiscal year 2022 defense policy bill would authorize $21.4 billion in Army procurement, a slight increase from the $21.3 billion in the service’s budget request.

The House committee wants more information on a new cruise missile before a contract can go out:

House authorizers want LRSO procurement contract award contingent on receiving new cost information

House authorizers are seeking to block the Air Force from awarding a procurement contract for its new nuclear cruise missile until officials share updated cost information with lawmakers, according to a new document obtained by Inside Defense.

The Navy may get a dozen additional F/A-18 aircraft through the House committee’s bill:

House panel adds $970M for 12 F/A-18E/F, despite Navy objections

The House Armed Services Committee has shown its skepticism for the Navy’s strike fighter shortfall plan by adding $970 million to the F/A-18E/F program for 12 jets in the fiscal year 2022 budget, according to the committee chairman’s mark for the FY-22 defense authorization bill.

Here’s an overview of the House committee’s bill:

House panel backs Biden’s $715B Pentagon budget; handcuffs F-35

The House Armed Services Committee’s version of the fiscal year 2022 defense authorization bill sets a topline budget of $715 billion for the Pentagon, aligning with the amount requested by President Biden in April, but $25 billion less than what Senate authorizers have approved.

Our coverage of the Space Symposium continues:

SSC considering backup options should Vulcan BE-4 engine schedule slip further

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO -- Space Systems Command is evaluating mitigation options should Blue Origin’s BE-4 engine, which is powering the United Launch Alliance Vulcan rocket set to fly a portion of the National Security Space Launch manifest procured through fiscal year 2024, face additional development delays.

SpOC Commander: Near-term funding for second Space Fence site in limbo

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO -- The head of Space Operations Command today cast doubt on the prospect of building out a second Space Fence site in the next few years.

And finally, news on the Defense Department’s new command and control effort:

JADC2 missing ‘key components’ as DOD nears first phase of implementation

While the Defense Department is nearing its first phase on the implementation of its sensor to shooter capability known as Joint All-Domain Command and Control, the general in charge of the effort last week said it is still missing key components necessary for functioning in contested environments.

By Aidan Quigley
August 26, 2021 at 10:08 AM

The Navy’s Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile – Extended Range program is moving into low-rate initial production after receiving milestone C approval Monday.

The Navy plans to award the first two AARGM-ER low-rate initial production lots in coming months, the service said in a press release. Northrop Grumman is the program’s prime contractor.

The AARGM-ER is an air-launched missile that is an upgrade to the AGM-88E AARGM program. The Navy plans to integrate the AARGM-ER on the F/A-18E/F and EA-18G aircraft, and the missile is compatible with the F-35.

The program completed its first live fire event in July, launching from an F/A-18. The AARGM-ER met all planned test objectives in the first of a series of development tests.

“The live fire test validated the overall system integration, performance of the rocket motor and the start of modeling and simulation validation,” the Navy said in a July press release.

The service plans to continue live first flight testing through 2022, with initial operational capability planned for 2023.

By Tony Bertuca
August 25, 2021 at 4:07 PM

Inside Defense has obtained a copy of the House Armed Services Committee’s chairman’s mark for the fiscal year 2022 defense authorization bill.

Among a host of other issues, Committee Chairman Adam Smith’s (D-WA) mark sets a topline budget of nearly $716 billion for the Pentagon, aligning with the amount requested by President Biden in April, but $25 billion less than what Senate authorizers have approved.

The full committee is slated to debate the bill in a marathon mark-up session Sept. 1.

Watch Inside Defense for further reporting.

By Thomas Duffy
August 25, 2021 at 1:49 PM

This midweek INSIDER Daily Digest starts with news about the Army’s cross-functional teams, we also have news about the Defense Department forgoing an annual acquisition report to Congress, news from the ongoing Space Symposium, and finally news on the Defense Department’s funding target for Afghanistan.

The Army may keep a number of management teams in place after finishing a planned round of modernization programs:

Murray: CFTs could outlive current modernization

The cross-functional teams set up to manage 31 of the Army’s priority modernization programs will likely remain after this round of modernization has ended, Gen. John Murray, the leader of Army Futures Command, told reporters Aug. 24.

The Defense Department will not send Congress a series of reports on acquisition programs this year:

DOD ditches requirement to provide Congress annual SARs this summer, citing limited out-year data

The Defense Department is spiking plans to provide Congress detailed updates about the status of major weapon system acquisitions -- a nearly $2 trillion portfolio -- advising lawmakers earlier this summer that because the Biden administration’s fiscal year 2022 budget submission is not accompanied by a detailed future-year spending forecast, the Pentagon will not submit any annual Selected Acquisition Reports.

The Air Force secretary says a number of space acquisition issues need to be worked through:

Future SDA acquisition authorities unclear as agency begins transition to Space Force

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO -- As the Air Force secretary and the Pentagon’s research and development chief lead early efforts to transition the Space Development Agency into the Space Force, a key issue will be determining what acquisition and contracting authorities the agency will retain.

More news from the Space Symposium:

Tournear: SDA’s NSSL launches will cost marginally more than commercial alternative

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO -- The Space Development Agency’s recent decision to use the National Security Space Launch Phase 2 contract to carry Tranche 1 satellites will only cost marginally more than working with a commercial provider due to efforts from the Space Systems Center’s NSSL program office.

Pentagon officials are working through what to do with the money Congress appropriated for the mission in Afghanistan:

Pentagon pauses billions intended for Afghan military

The Defense Department, following the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul, has halted all plans to spend $3.3 billion to bolster the now collapsed Afghan military, along with about another $3 billion in previously unspent training and equipping funds.

By Audrey Decker
August 25, 2021 at 1:37 PM

The Office of Naval Research awarded General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems a contract to design a motor and energy storage system for a Large Displacement Unmanned Underwater Vehicle.

“The planned systems will provide the LDUUV with power for propulsion and an energy storage system to support improved system performance necessary for future LDUUV operations,” according to Friday’s press release.

The LDUUV is intended for hosting and deployment from submarines.

Last year, the Navy released a request for proposals for design, development and fabrication of the LDUUV.

The motor and energy storage system will be tested at-sea later in the program, according to the press release.